Ever since I started shooting large format, I wanted to see the difference a better scanner than mine could provide. I use the Epson V700 for scanning my 4×5 film and I have printed 11×18 inches prints (thats 30×45 cm) with fantastic results. But since I often print at larger sizes, I decided to send a couple of 4×5 frames in a lab to be scanned with an Imacon 949 scanner. A drum scanner should of course yield better results, but I am still searching for an affordable drum scan service.
So, here is a first side by side comparison of the two scans.
Here is a 100% crop of both scanners.
There are differences in color rendering (the Imacon scan is closer to the slide), and one reason of course is that the person who uses the Imacon has far more experience than me. Also, the Imacon is of course a better scanner than Epson. By sharpening the Epson scan you can get pretty close to the Imacon but as it is obvious, there are artifacts and the Imacon would easily yield a much better 40 inches wide print. So, for serious prints, I will rely on the lab and I will sure try to have a drum scan of this image sometime in the near future to further evaluate the differences.
I also had some 6×17 slide film frames scanned with the Imacon. Here, the differences were much more subtle since I scan the 6×17 film with my Nikon Coolscan 9000. The Imacon scans were better by only by a slight margin. Still, its a pain to scan 6×17 with the Coolscan since it requires stitching two different scans with all the problems that can create (uneven exposure and color, alignment problems). So, as with 4×5, for serious large prints with 6×17 film, I am probably going with the lab option.
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